Pretext of Iraq war just an ‘excuse’: Tony Blair denounces Putin’s Ukraine invasion

Former UK prime minister Tony Blair rebuked Russian President Vladimir Putin saying the Iraq war was about introducing democracy and Putin using its pretext for Ukraine’s invasion is nothing but an “excuse” as Kyiv poses no threat to its neighbours. 

“If he didn’t use that excuse (Iraq), he’d use another excuse,” the British Labour Party leader told AFP news agency. 

Blair pointed out that the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had started regional wars, disobeyed several UN resolutions, and used chemical weapons against his own people.

The administration of then-US president George W. Bush also alleged that the Iraqi dictator was actively manufacturing biological and chemical munitions, so-called weapons of mass destruction (WMD), in breach of international treaties and conventions.

Blair told AFP that Ukraine in comparison has a democratic government and poses no danger to its neighbours when Putin invaded the country first in 2014 and then the full invasion last year.

“At least you could say we were removing a despot and trying to introduce democracy,” Blair said at the offices of his Tony Blair Institute for Global Change in central London.

“Now you can argue about all the consequences and so on. His (Putin’s) intervention in the Middle East (in Syria) was to prop up a despot and refuse a democracy. So we should treat all that propaganda with the lack of respect it deserves.”

George Bush Senior, the president’s father, commanded the coalition that drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait during the Gulf War, between 1990 and 1991 but was unable to overthrow the regime.

In March 2003, British soldiers participated in a coalition invasion of Iraq. After a month of the war, they toppled Saddam Hussein’s government and took control of the nation. But, six more years would pass before Britain’s war efforts ended.

No weapons of mass destruction were discovered in Iraq, which the war’s many detractors used to say that it was an imprudent misadventure.

(With inputs from agencies)


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